Author Archive

Sykes’ Great British Brew

Monday, September 7th, 2015
Pin It

Here in Britain, we love a good cup of tea. It’s something we’re extremely passionate about and something that we take very seriously. Everyone has an opinion on how best to make it and woe betide someone who makes our tea wrong!

At Sykes Cottages, we’re launching an exciting new project to explore this never-ending love affair with tea and all the quirky tea habits that we Brits have; after all, it’s no secret that us Brits think a nice brew can solve anything from a headache to heartache.

To start our journey off, we want to know what you call a cup of tea. We’re trying to find out the UK’s most common phrases and all of the weird-and-wonderful suggestions in-between! Add yours to the list by replying to our posts on Twitter or Facebook.

Cup of tea

Pin It
Louise O'Toole

By Louise O'Toole

Louise loves reading, shopping, baking and cosy country pubs with log fires. A nice cup of tea will never be turned down. She has spent many childhood summers on the beach in Cornwall and walking the hills of the Lake District.

Book your October Half Term Holiday now!

Tuesday, September 1st, 2015
Pin It

Now the kids are heading back to school and you have a spare minute to relax, why not turn your thoughts to October Half Term? October is a great time for families to get away and spend some time in the outdoors before the full onset of winter takes hold with its chilly weather and dark evenings. Our cottages do get booked up quickly for half term week so to inspire you to get organised and book your family holiday today, here are a few cottages that still have availability!

Upper Greenhills Farm, Staffordshire

This charming barn conversion with its idyllic setting in the Staffordshire countryside is perfect for a family break this October. Upper Greenhills Farm is spacious enough for all the family with bright, open plan living space and three large bedrooms, as well as a lovely outdoor area from which you can admire the surrounding views. There are numerous walking and cycling trails nearby for bracing autumn jaunts in the Peak District and the pretty market towns of Leek and Ashbourne are both close by. Other nearby family-friendly attractions include Alton Towers and Chatsworth House.

Handbridge Cottage, Cheshire

One of our newest properties, this delightful cottage is just a short stroll from the centre of Chester and is a brilliant choice for a holiday with children this half term. From Handbridge Cottage, you are perfectly placed to explore all that Chester has to offer for families including parks, family-friendly restaurants and shops. The fantastic Chester Zoo is easily reachable by car or bus, as is the Welsh coast and Go Ape at Delamere Forest. The cottage itself blends contemporary furnishing with period features to create a light and airy holiday home where you can relax in comfort after a long day exploring.

Lake View Cottage, Lake District

You couldn’t ask for a better location than this lovely ground floor cottage on the edge of Lake Windermere; with stunning lake views and access to the lake via a private lane, Lake View Cottage is a truly special holiday home. The cottage sleeps up to four guests in two bedrooms and so is ideal for a small family looking for a Lake District holiday this half term. Take advantage of the setting and pack a picnic to eat on the shoreline or if you fancy heading further afield, the Lake District’s many attractions are all within easy reach.

Badger’s Lodge, Cotswolds

With plenty of activities and facilities on offer, Badger’s Lodge in the Cotswold Water Park is fantastic for families who want to make sure that they can keep their kids entertained. Located in a picturesque gated village on a 450 acre nature reserve, this charming cottage is perfect for a relaxing family break in a beautiful setting. Badger’s Lodge also offers free, unrestricted use of the on-site facilities include a tennis court, children’s play area, sailing lake, sauna and steam room, as well as the opportunity to undertake further watersports for an additional cost.

To see our full collection of family holiday cottages still available for October Half Term, please visit our website. We’ve a fantastic team of reservations specialists who’d be happy to help find you the perfect self-catering cottage for your getaway; to get in touch please give us a call on 01244 356 695 or email us by clicking here.

Pin It
Louise O'Toole

By Louise O'Toole

Louise loves reading, shopping, baking and cosy country pubs with log fires. A nice cup of tea will never be turned down. She has spent many childhood summers on the beach in Cornwall and walking the hills of the Lake District.

Discover: Best Restaurants in Chester

Saturday, August 29th, 2015
Pin It

If you’re visiting the beautiful Roman city of Chester then you’re in for a treat as it’s home to some of the best restaurants around; there’s an abundance of independent eateries, quirky coffee shops and delicious delis for you to explore. The blog-writing team here at Sykes Cottages are big fans of eating out and need no excuse to peruse a menu, so take advantage of our expertise and discover some of the best places to eat in Chester, as voted for by locals.

Best for… a romantic meal

A firm favourite with us, La Fattoria on Lower Bridge Street is the place to go in Chester for an authentic Italian experience. Everything is freshly made and the pizzas (which we thoroughly recommend) are cooked in a proper pizza oven. La Fattoria has a welcoming, lively atmosphere and the food is mouth-wateringly good. If you’re looking for somewhere a little more intimate, try Sticky Walnut which is tucked away in the Chester suburb of Hoole and is another great option. This award-winning bistro has a strong reputation and offers ambitious, imaginative and downright delicious dishes.

Best if… you’re on a budget

Siam Thai on City Road is a delightful Thai restaurant in a lovely setting overlooking the canal. If you’re on a budget, you need to try their Early Sitting Menu, which offers tasty, traditional Thai food at excellent value. Eat from 5pm-6.45pm on weekdays, or 3.30pm-6.30pm on weekends and you can enjoy two courses for just £12.50 per person. Unlike many early bird menus, Siam Thai also offers plenty of choice with a wide range of dishes available including curries, Pad Thai and stir fried meals.

Best for… celebrations

If you want to book somewhere special for a celebration, American BBQ restaurant, Hickory’s is a fantastic choice. In an idyllic location on the banks of the River Dee, Hickory’s offers a mouthwatering menu full of slow-cooked ribs, burgers, steaks and skewers and you’ll also get free popcorn on your table- you’ll need to bring your appetite for this one! The drinks menu is another highlight with a wide range of cocktails, milkshakes and sodas; try the Cherry Cream Soda for a real treat!

Best for… families

For something a little different that the kids are bound to love, head to Hanky Panky on Commonhall Street. This specialist pancake café offers an impressive choice of both sweet and savoury pancakes with example menu items including Fisherman’s Friend (smoked salmon, crème fraiche with rocket, topped with chives) and The Sticky Toffee (sticky toffee fudge ice cream topped with whipped cream and caramel sauce).

Best for… lunch

There’s no shortage of fantastic cafes, pubs and delis around Chester which serve fabulous lunch options. If you want a recommendation however, we suggest you take a look at Watergate Deli on the lower Rows of Watergate Street. Watergate Deli is a charming and characterful, family-run coffee shop and deli which serves delicious home-made cakes, sandwiches, salads, pies and soups, all made using locally sourced produce.

If you’re planning a trip to Chester then don’t forget to take a look at our fabulous holiday cottages in Chester; we have some great properties in the area for you to choose from! If you do indulge in a meal out while you’re here, let us know what you thought on Twitter or Facebook.

Pin It
Louise O'Toole

By Louise O'Toole

Louise loves reading, shopping, baking and cosy country pubs with log fires. A nice cup of tea will never be turned down. She has spent many childhood summers on the beach in Cornwall and walking the hills of the Lake District.

How We’ve Improved In The Past Year

Saturday, August 22nd, 2015
Pin It

As you’ll probably already know, here at Sykes Cottages we’ve been nominated for a prestigious British Travel award for the third year running! We’ve been nominated for Best UK Holiday Cottage/ Self Catering Booking Company and to help convince you to vote for us, we wanted to show you what we’ve done to improve in the last year in order to deserve your vote this time around.

We’ve moved to a bigger and better office

Sykes Cottages Staff with Awards

Some of our staff in the new Sykes Cottages garden terrace

In March 2015, we completed our move to our new office in Chester city centre. Aside from the obvious danger to my bank balance that comes with having a wealth of shops and restaurants on the doorstep, the move spells great things for Sykes as it gives us the opportunity to keep growing and expanding the company to be better than we’ve ever been before.

We’ve won awards

Sykes Cottages' Awards

Our most recent awards

It’s not just the British Travel Awards we’ve been successful in; in the past year, we’ve been delighted to have continued our status as an award-winning company outside of the British Travel Awards too! In December 2014, we won the prestigious Travolution Award for the ‘Best Use of Search Engine Marketing’ and in March 2015, we were named one of the Top 1000 Companies to Inspire Britain by the London Stock Exchange Group. Here at Sykes, we always strive to ensure that we’re the best that we can be for our customers, owners and staff and so we were over the moon that our achievements and hard work have been recognised by such respected brands. Here’s hoping for more success in the coming months!

We now have over 6,000 cottages to book

Our cottage portfolio is expanding every day and we’re working hard to make sure that we have a fantastic selection of holiday cottages for you to choose from. Currently, the count stands at over 6,000 cottages! All of our cottages are equally wonderful but there are some that have joined our ranks in the past year that really stand out; for example, The Abbey in Penzance which is a beautiful luxury property and one of Cornwall’s most important listed buildings; The Rowan Yurt in Hepworth- this gorgeous, romantic yurt has proved to be one of our most popular properties this year; and Dome House in Bowness-on-Windermere, which is a stunning architect-designed property recently featured on Channel 4’s Grand Designs.

Vote for us in the British Travel Awards

British Travel Awards

If you haven’t voted for us yet in the British Travel Awards and you’d like to, you can do so by clicking on the above button. We’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has voted so far; we’re absolutely thrilled that you’ve taken the time to vote for us and we’ll be keeping everything crossed that we can win this for you for the third year in a row!

Pin It
Louise O'Toole

By Louise O'Toole

Louise loves reading, shopping, baking and cosy country pubs with log fires. A nice cup of tea will never be turned down. She has spent many childhood summers on the beach in Cornwall and walking the hills of the Lake District.

Spotlight On: Quirky Holiday Cottages, Part II

Sunday, August 16th, 2015
Pin It

Looking for something a little different on your next holiday? Whether you fancy relaxing in a former water tank or getting away to a converted chapel, here at Sykes Cottages we have a wide collection of unusual holiday lets that are sure to make your holiday stand out! If you want to read Quirky Holiday Cottages Part I, please click here.

Riverside, Lake District

The spectacular views from this quirky holiday cottage are guaranteed to take your breath away. Situated on the shoes of Ullswater, the views from Riverside are some of the best in the Lake District. To make the most of these views, Riverside has huge picture windows and outside, there’s a private hot tub and alfresco cooking & dining facilities. There are beautiful walks on the doorstep and there’s a lovely pub just two minutes’ walk away.

The Old Fire Station, Kent

This fabulous holiday home was the former St Margaret’s at Cliffe fire station. The building was converted in 2012 to create this unique holiday rental which is ideal for a holiday with friends or family. The stand-out feature of the Old Fire Station is its original frontage, which it has retained and which now makes up one wall of the living area- the ceiling of which is high enough to accommodate a fire engine. This property is bright, airy and spacious with four bedrooms, and is close to beaches, pubs and stunning coastal walks.

1 Church House, Isle of Wight

1 Church House is a stunning church conversion on the coast of the Isle of Wight. The property manages to seamlessly combine luxurious and contemporary furnishings with beautiful original features, which include magnificent stained glass windows, timber high ceilings and a galleried balcony. 1 Church House is perfectly located for a relaxing break with a shop, lovely pub and beach all within eight minutes’ walk.

Cambridge Lodge, Peak District

Cambridge Lodge is an extraordinary property that offers a wonderfully unique holiday experience. Expertly converted from a water tank dating back to 1909, it took the owners 10 years of renovation but it’s been more than worth it! The property is now a modern and luxurious holiday home- half of which is underground- with facilities including Smart TVs, Netflix and a lovely outdoor garden with panoramic views across to nearby Chatsworth House.

Southover, Norfolk

This unusual part-thatched cottage on the edge of the River Bure in the Norfolk Broads makes for a holiday that you’ll never forget. With high ceilings, exposed timbers and full-length windows leading on to a decked balcony, making the most of the beautiful river views, Southover exudes luxury. There’s also a hot tub, Sky TV and in addition, the property offers private mooring and use of a 5-seater boat and canoe for guests to use on the water.

To see our full collection of unusual holiday cottages, you can visit our website or take a peek at our previous blog post focusing on other quirky cottages. We’ve everything from yurts to converted chapels so if you’re looking for a holiday let with a difference, you’re in the right place!

Pin It
Louise O'Toole

By Louise O'Toole

Louise loves reading, shopping, baking and cosy country pubs with log fires. A nice cup of tea will never be turned down. She has spent many childhood summers on the beach in Cornwall and walking the hills of the Lake District.